December 22, 2011

Sweet almond oil: the budget multitasker



This post marks the first in a recurring series that will be featured on my blog. "Building your natural beauty cabinet" will be all about basic products and ingredients that can be useful in multiple ways to your beauty routine. Think oils, witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, etc. I hope to cover these products and many more in the future. For now, I wanted to start off with something I've really been enjoying lately: sweet almond oil. 

What's great about it:
  • Sweet almond oil is a natural emollient and moisturizer.
  • It's suitable for all skin types.
  • It has little to no odor. 
  • It is rich in vitamins and oleic and linoleic essential fatty acids.
  • It safe. Sweet almond oil has an EWG rating of 0.
  • It's affordable. A 4 oz bottle of pure sweet almond oil can be purchased from around $3 to $9.

Some of its many uses:

  • Run a small amount through your hair to add softness and shine. This is my favorite use for it.
  • For a moisturizing treatment, coat your hair with, wrap in a warm towel and leave it in, ideally, overnight. You can also warm up the oil first to create a hot oil treatment. 
  • Massaging your scalp with it can help promote hair growth.
  • Remove eye makeup by rubbing a small amount on your eyes.
  • Use it as part of face washing using the oil cleansing method.
  • It makes a great night time facial moisturizer for all skin types.  For that matter, it can be used everywhere. Sweet almond oil is popular for use in massage.
  • It can be used in all sorts of homemade beauty recipes such as scrubs and body butter.
  • You can shave with it.
  • Use it as a carrier oil for aromatherapy.

Tips:

  • Go for the cold pressed, 100% pure varieties, if possible. Cold pressed oils contain more nutrients. I actually made the mistake of buying one that has tocopheryl acetate, which isn't the worst thing in the world, but I'd prefer the pure stuff. (It's a recurring theme: you must be vigilant at reading labels)
  • Sweet almond oil can go rancid. It has a shelf life of about 6 to 12 months, which can be extended by keeping it in the refrigerator. Cold, dry places are also good.
  • Slight word of warning: this would be a difficult mistake to make, but you should be sure not to purchase bitter almond oil. This type of oil is not safe for these uses.
  • Sweet almond oil is also not suitable for people with allergies to nuts.

Recommended Brands: NOW Foods, Nature's Alchemy, Aura Cacia (organics variety only). Available at iherb.com or vitacost.com

Disclosure: Contains affiliate links.

December 21, 2011

Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Lipstick in Soft Kiss

If you follow my blog, you will know that I love my Honeybee Gardens lipstick in Karma. I liked it enough to pick up another color when I was making an order from VitaCost. The color I got is called Soft Kiss, and as you can see it is a matte baby pink. I did a swatch of it next to Karma below. It is not quite as opaque as Karma, and I the color  is slightly less cool than it is reading on camera.

I'm a big fan of this color. It's in the same color family as MAC's Viva Glam Gaga, which I used to be obsessed with, but it is much more wearable. It's very girly, but I don't feel like a valley girl or barbie while wearing it. 

It has the same unusual thyme scent, which I really enjoy. And as always, I love the nourishing ingredients like sesame oil and and shea butter, and the lack of synthetic colors. I definitely recommend picking this up if you're a fan of this type of color. For their performance and price, these lipsticks are probably the best value in natural cosmetics!

EWG Rating: 1

Ingredients: canola oil, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, sesamum indicum (sesame) seed oil, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter) fruit, beeswax, theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax, tocopherol (vitamin e), origanum vulgare (oregano) leaf extract, thymus vulgaris (thyme) extract, cinnamomum zeylanicum (cinnamon) bark extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower extract, hydrastis canadensis (golden seal) root extract. May Contain: titanium dioxide, iron oxides, ultramarine blue, carmine, manganese violet.

Price: $8.01 at vitacost.com or $8.99 at iherb.com
Click here for $10 off your first vitacost purchase of $30 or more!
or use code JOB127 at iherb.com for $10 off your first purchase of $40 or more, $5 off any purchase less than $40.

December 19, 2011

What I brought home for winter break


At the risk of revealing what a makeup addict I actually am, I decided to share all the items I packed for my month long winter vacation. These are my favorite products right now, so this is sort of a cross between a "what to travel with" and a favorites post. So, let's get started...

Makeup:
For makeup, I brought Priia undereye concealer, rms cream eyeshadow in Lunar and Seduce, Everyday Minerals eyeshadow in Bedtime Story and On the Phone (discontinued), two random brown Bare Minerals matte shadows, Everyday Minerals Soft Bronzer and Everyday Bronzer (I mixed it with a shimmery mica - this product is normally matte), Vapour bronzer in Simmer, Zosimos Botanicals eyeliner in Natural Brown, samples of Everyday Minerals base in Ivory and Sandy Fair, samples of Everyday Minerals blush in Waffle Cone, Snooze Bar and Bollywood (discontinued), Honeybee Gardens lipstick in Karma and Gabriel mascara


Brushes:

As you can see I don't use just one brand of brushes. I use a lot of Sigma, Everyday Minerals, EcoTools and Real Techniques. I will have a full review on the Real Techniques line coming up... I looove these brushes. They are so soft and work very well.For vacation, I wanted to bring enough to do contouring and and multiple colors of eyeshadows. But I should just face it: I am a brush addict.

Skin Care:

For my skin, I brought Acure Eye Cream, Moa balm, Dessert Essence tea tree oil, Aura Cacia sweet almond oil, GentleCare Butt Dust (discontinued), Acure Day Cream, Product and By Nieves The Balm

My main skin concern right now is dryness, so I went a bit crazy with the balms. I'm trying to use up the Egyptian Magic, I really like to put the Moa balm around my nose and eyes, I use Product for lips and hair, and I just really love the smell of the By Nieves Balm. I also brought Acure Eye Cream for night, and Day Cream for the day and mixing with mineral foundation. I use sweet almond oil on my skin at night and to smooth down hair, baby powder for freshening my hair, and tea tree oil has been great to relieve itchiness caused by eczema. I have posts coming up about the uses of tea tree oil and sweet almond oil.




Disclosure: Acure eye cream and day cream, Moa blam, By Nieves The Balm, Honeybee Gardens Karma lipstick and Gabriel mascara were sent to me as P.R. samples. Opinions are 100% mine and I do not feature products on this blog that I do not like. Contains affiliate links.

December 14, 2011

Acure Day Cream

Since switching over to clean products, I've started to understand my skin a lot better. I have this crazy combination skin with an oily t-zone/forehead and really dry cheeks. In the warmer months (most of the year here) my main concern is controlling the oil, but when it gets cold my skin is starving for moisture. This calls for a good face lotion.

In my neck of the woods, it was literally in the 70's for most of November and then one day the temperature dropped at it turned into winter. Because there was such a dramatic change in temperature, my skin freaked out. It got super dry, red and itchy. I felt like my face was on fire. But then my Acure Day Cream came to the rescue! It instantly soothed my skin, and within a day of applying it, the itchy dryness was completely gone. I'd been using it on and off for a couple months, but it wasn't until the weather got cold that I realized what a difference it was making. It's an amazing moisturizer.

I also use  balms and oils at night, but it is nice to use a lotion on your face for day use because it absorbs into the skin quickly and doesn't leave it greasy or sticky. It's perfect to put on right before makeup. I'm also in love with the smell, it's very bright and uplifting. I'm terrible at describing scents, but it's very mild and maybe a bit on the sweet side. 

This is the first natural lotion I've used, and I'm in love. It is definitely a product that measures up to its not so clean counterparts.

Ingredients: Organic Curoxidant Blend (Organic Acai Berry, Organic Blackberry, Organic Rosehips, Organic Elderberry, Organic Nettle Leaf, Organic Cranberry, Organic Goji Berry, Organic Raspberry, Organic Pomegranate, Organic Blueberry), Organic Calendula, Organic Chamomile, Fair Trade Certified™ Organic Yerba Mate, Organic Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Emulsifying Wax NF (Vegetable), Fair Trade Certified™ Organic Cocoa Seed Butter, Organic Safflower Seed Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Glyceryl Stearate SE (vegetable derived), Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Sunflower Oil, Infusion of Organic Calendula Officinalis Flower in Fair Trade Certified™ Organic Olive Oil, Glucono Delta Lactone (fermented Sugar), Carrot Seed Oil, Organic Chlorella pyrenoidosa (Chlorella Growth Factor), Citrus Red Mandarin Oil, Vitamin E, Organic Evening Primrose Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Clove Bud Oil

EWG rating (preliminary): 2. Clove bud oil is rated as a 5 due to allergy/immunotoxicity and use restrictions, but this is the very last ingredient on the list so it is not a large amount. It also contains potassium sorbate, which is at 3, and is also at the end of the list. I still think this a safe product filled with good ingredients.

Price: $18.99 at acureorganics.com. It can also be found at vitacost.com for $15.38. Note: I love the price point. Natural skincare can get expensive, and if you take a look at the ingredients this is full of good stuff. I think it's super reasonable considering the quality.

P.S. I've also been enjoying their resurfacing cream and their eye cream, to be reviewed soon .

Disclosure: A sample of this product was provided as a P.R. sample. This does not affect my opinion of the product. 
Blog design by KotrynaBassDesign